FICO Gives Credit to Collaboration Platform

An enormous challenge for large and global businesses is keeping a workforce in sync and managing tasks as efficiently as possible. Communication breakdowns, glitches and failures can quickly derail performance and profits. At FICO, a nearly 60-year-old software analytics firm–best known for creating the FICO score that’s used to gauge consumer credit risk–business as usual was no longer feasible. “We had to find a way to break down the silos and introduce a platform that allows staff in 28 countries to better communicate and collaborate,” said CIO Tony McGivern.

Over the last few years, the organization has focused on modernizing its IT platforms and introducing more agile and flexible ways to address a changing, and increasingly electronic, business environment. “We have looked to transform the company by delivering our intellectual property and content to new and alternate markets,” McGivern said. In order to support this environment, which relies heavily on the cloud, FICO had to introduce ways employees and others could connect to one another. In early 2014, the company switched on a Jive collaboration platform for its 3,000 employees. The system integrates with cloud-based file storage service Box as well as Okta for single sign-on.

FICO is using the technology platform to streamline a variety of tasks. For instance, the system guides new employees through an onboarding process. They receive information, documents and collateral as they complete tasks–and employees can also send and receive messages, if they have questions or need assistance. Another use of the Jive platform revolves around knowledge sharing. Existing employees can obtain documents, presentations, reports and more through a virtual space called Marketing Exchange. “In the past, everything resided on folders in personal computers and e-mail threads could reach a dozen or two dozen messages in order to obtain the right document or slide deck,” McGivern said.

The collaboration tools allow employees to not only access files across the organization but also add comments and provide general feedback. The results have been nothing short of transformative, McGivern said. The firm initially aimed for a 60 percent adoption rate within six months but hit a 97 percent adoption rate after only four months. In addition, more than 450 groups sprung up within the community platform within six months and external users had more than 375 projects in motion within the same time span. “We really hit fertile ground. We provided a system that people recognized they could benefit from,” he said.

A key to success was hiring a community manager to oversee the collaboration space. Along the way, FICO also ran contests and promotions to encourage adoption and get employees off a SharePoint server. The biggest challenge the organization faced, McGivern said, was changing the cultural mindset to sharing among a few holdouts that didn’t initially feel comfortable sharing intellectual property. “We handle extremely valuable data and some serious intellectual property,” he said. “We had to help some people understand that the platform is extremely secure; it’s essentially a vault beneath their desk…We have fundamentally change the way we manage work and do business.”


Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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